I took a short bicycle ride yesterday with two stops to search for three caches and I ran into at least three of the worst things about cyclecaching. So, let’s get them out in the open; let’s throw them up on the wall and take a look at them.
First of all, I don’t want you to think I’m complaining. Because I’m not… wait… no… I am complaining. I’m complaining like a kid in a tie on the way to Church. I’m complaining like an old man yelling “get off my lawn” at the kids playing outside. I’m complaining like a… well… you get the idea.
The third worst thing about cyclecaching is mud. Just mud. One of the caches I was seeking yesterday was in the middle of a creek and the approach to the creek was mud. Just mud. Ok, but that’s not unique to cyclecaching, is it? Nope, but walking around in mud in $125 bike shoes with getting mud jammed into your cleats certainly is. I carry cleat covers in one of my jersey pockets and use them when I get off the bike, but that mud gets in. And then you have the extra fun of removing the muddy cleat covers from your shoes and jamming the muddy cleat covers into one of the back pockets of your jersey. If you’re in a car, you could always have a pair of boots to get into, but that’s not possible unless you’re ride is totally focused on caching and you don’t mind lugging around a backpack or messenger bag loaded with auxiliary gear. Third worst thing.
The second worst thing about cyclecaching is nefarious, evil, harmful vegetation. I.e. thorns and poison ivy/oak/sumac. I just got over a terrible case of poison ivy on my legs where I had a “rope” of blisters running down and around my lower leg. That was awful for about two to three weeks so I’ve been very, very careful since. On my ride yesterday, I had figured out the location of puzzle cache the night before and wanted to stop by and log the find. On Google Maps, the location was a nice little stand of trees in between a cotton field and a cemetary, but when I got there, the trees were surrounded by a thick stand of vines and some of the most evil thorns I’ve ever seen. I could barely even sweep aside some of this thicket much less get through it to the interior. After about fifteen minutes of peering in and walking around trying to find an entrance into the thicket, I finally spotted the cache about five feet in and, very, very carefully, I was able to stick one leg, my left arm, and my head through the ticket to grab the cache and a photo. (The photo looks tame compared to the reality because it shows the interior and the thorns were all outside in the sunlight.)
But you might think that this is not just unique to cyclecaching, but something about geocaching in general and you are correct and that is why this is only ranked as the second worst thing. But there is one aspect that is unique to cyclecaching; rather than wearing a $15 pair of shorts, a $30 pair of jeans, and a $10 t-shirt, you’re wearing a $75 pair of bib shorts made from lycra spandex and a $60 jersey made from polyester, both of which are extremely sensitive to thorns. Second worst thing.
IMO, the worst thing about cyclecaching is mosquitos. (Scientific term is actually “fucking mosquitos”.) But wait, Dell! Here again, this is not unique to cyclecaching. That is a problem with geocaching in general. Yep. You bet. Except for the fact that you are only clothed in the lightest, tightest, thinnest, and most porous material ever invented by man. I actually have a mosquito bite on one of my butt cheeks today from looking for that cache in the creek and it is not because my butt cheek was in any way exposed! I promise you that I did not remove my clothing before frolicking off into the woods to find this cache. Worst thing. Worst. Worst, I tell you.
I’ll try to balance this out later with a post on the best things about cyclecaching, but I just can’t think about that right now as I scratch the itchy bite on my ass.